I don’t know about you, but for a long time, I’ve perceived sleep as a waste of time; I’ve always felt that I could’ve been doing something more useful, more productive or more fun than sleeping and I struggled with sleep deprivation almost throughout my entire life.
As a teenager, I used to stay late in the night watching movies or playing video games, then came partying and it all turned out into a routine of staying up late into the nigh.
I thought that I was a night owl, but I wasn’t; I just got into habit of not sleeping at night.
As a result of bad sleep, my mornings were horrible; the first two wake hours felt like getting up from a coma. I couldn’t talk, think or do anything else. I would literally sit on the couch sleeping with my eyes opened and I had to explain to all my roommates not to talk to me during these hours because I won’t be there. If I’ve forgotten to tell them, they would get offended thinking that I’m ignoring them.
Once I graduated and started to work, it got even worse. I could never wake up early enough to put myself together before the work, so I would practically get into the office straight from my bed, which meant two hours of staring into empty space without any productivity. Luckily, my bosses could tolerate that.
If you’re thinking about coffee now, no amount of that beverage could help me to put myself straight. I’ve also tried all sorts of energy drinks and none of them helped.
More than a year ago, when I arrived in Wenzhou, China, I decided to put my life into some kind of order and the first thing was getting enough sleep.
I’ve read a few articles about writers who would wake up early and write and I decided to do the same thing, because my new job and family obligations didn’t leave me enough free time for writing.
That decision was in a domain of impossibility like “chain smoker and overweight Caucasian decided to win the Olympic gold medal in a marathon; the race is next week”, but I was decisive.
Although I spent a whole month walking like a brainless zombie, I didn’t give up. I would wake up at 5:30 each morning and sit on my couch until 7:30 and do nothing.
Gradually, I realized, that my morning starts the day before and I was able to move my alarm clock to 4:15.
- First, I eliminated coffee in the afternoon; meaning, I drink my last cup after lunch, which is usually around 12 o’clock.
- I decided to go to bed at the same time every day. So, each day at 9:00 pm my daughter and I are ready for bed which enables my wife to have some “me time”.
- I don’t drink alcohol before bedtime because it interrupts my deep sleep. OK, it happens maybe once in a week that I would have a glass of wine after dinner, but that’s at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- I try to eliminate screen time at least one hour before bed. It’s not always possible, but at least 70% percent of the time it is. Screens emit blue light which prevents your body from producing melatonin, a hormone responsible for putting you to sleep.
These four rules which I follow daily enabled me to wake up between 4 and 5 am, each morning for more than a year, feeling fresh and ready to work.
So, if you would like to write, or add any new activity into your life, and you don’t have time, you might consider waking up earlier. If I could do it, anyone could do it, trust me.
Waking up early changed my life entirely. I can accomplish my three most important tasks (writing a blog, working on my novel and reading) before 9 am. And, if I have some extra time for any of these activities during the rest of the day, it feels like a gift, but if I don’t it doesn’t matter because I’ve already done enough.